Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing
|Dolphinarium suicide bombing|
|Part of the Second Intifada militancy campaign|
The abandoned ruins of the Dolphinarium in 2012.
|Location||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Date||1 June 2001
23:30 pm (GMT+2)
|Suicide attack by Saeed Hotari|
|Perpetrators||Lone Palestinian assailant (Saeed Hotari). Both Islamic Jihad and a group calling itself "Hezbollah-Palestine" originally claimed responsibility.|
The Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing was a Hamas terrorist attack on 1 June 2001 in which terrorist Saeed Hotari blew himself up outside of a nightclub in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 Israeli teenagers and 4 adults. The majority of the victims were teenage girls, whose families had immigrated to Tel Aviv from the former Soviet Union.
Suicide bomber Saeed Hotari was standing in line on a Friday night in front of the Dolphinarium, when the area was packed with youngsters (most of them Russian new arrivals) waiting for admission. Survivors of the attack later described how the young Palestinian bomber appeared to taunt his victims before the explosion, wandering among them dressed in clothes that led some to mistake him for an orthodox Jew from Asia, and banging a drum packed with explosives and ball bearings, while repeating the words in Hebrew: "Something's going to happen". At 23:27, he detonated his explosive device. It was the second attack in five months on the same target. Witnesses claimed that body parts lay all over the area, and that bodies were piled one above another on the sidewalk before being collected. Many civilians in the vicinity of the bombing rushed to assist emergency services.
Both Islamic Jihad and a group calling itself "Hezbollah-Palestine" originally claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, only to later retract the claims. Later on it was revealed that the attack was carried out by Saeed Hotari, age 22, a militant linked to the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.
- Involved parties
- Israeli officials called the attack a "massacre".
- President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat condemned the attack and called for a cease-fire.
- United Nations – U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated that he "condemns this indiscriminate terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms." and that the attack "underlines the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence".
- Kuwait – The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and acting Premier Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stated that he does not support Palestinian suicide bombings against civilians.
- United States – U.S. president George W. Bush stated that he condemns the attack in the strongest terms and that "There is no justification for senseless attacks against innocent civilians."
After the attack many in the Israeli public demanded a harsh military retaliation; nevertheless, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to not take any immediate retaliatory actions. US and other governments applied heavy diplomatic pressure on Israel to refrain from action. Nevertheless, the attack was later on noted as one of the reasons cited by the Israeli government for building the Israeli West Bank barrier.
In Ramallah dozens of Palestinians celebrated in the streets and fired in the air as a sign of celebration. The bomber, Saeed Hotari, was praised as a martyr by his father. President George W. Bush demanded that Yasser Arafat condemn the terrorist act.
According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli-based organization with close ties to the IDF, among the materials seized by the IDF in the course of Operation Defensive Shield were two documents issued by the Martyrs' Families and Injured Care Establishment, which is under the authority of the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs. The documents detail the transfer of $US2,000 to the father of the suicide bomber, who was living in Jordan at that time (18 June 2001). According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the transfer was made despite the suicide bomber's Hamas affiliation, despite the father's public support of the suicide bombing attack, and despite Arafat's public condemnation of the bombing.
- Civilian casualties in the Second Intifada
- Shevah Mofet
- Israeli casualties of war
- Palestinian political violence
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